wash and die
Charlotte LaRue, owner of New Orleans’s Maid for a Day cleaning service, is swept into jeopardy when an uninvited guest arrives on her doorstep . . .
As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”  Charlotte LaRue knows she should take a broom and chase Joyce Thibodeaux off her front porch.  Once married to Charlotte’s tenant Louis Thibodeaux, Joyce is fresh out of detox for her alcoholism and has no place to go.  She swears she’s clean and sober and will find her own place in a few days.  She pulls on Charlotte’s heartstrings . . . and soon she’s staying in Charlotte’s guest room.
Charlotte survived Hurricane Katrina, but Joyce proves to be an ill wind of a different kind.  Soon a valuable gold watch left to Charlotte by her father is missing, and worse, a stranger is watching the house.  Charlotte knows she has to show Joyce the door, but she never gets the chance.  Instead her beloved parakeet Sweety Boy vanishes, her living room gets trashed, and Joyce ends up in the middle of the mess . . . stone cold dead.
Now Charlotte is on the list of murder suspects along with Louis, who’s been out of town on business . . . or has he?  Finding the answers means doing a little snooping herself.  Grabbing her mop she’s starting with the hospital where Joyce last stayed: a place with skeletons in its closest and a bucket full of clues that just might lead to a killer.
Read A Review:

Charlotte LaRue owns Maid for a Day cleaning service in New Orleans.  When she returns home from a hard day of cleaning, she finds Joyce Thibodeaux waiting on her porch.  Joyce begs Charlotte to let her stay with her for a few days.  Joyce is a known liar and con artist and has just gotten out of rehab.  Against her better judgment, Charlotte says yes.  Joyce was once married to Charlotte's tenant Louis Thibodeaux.

It doesn't take long for Charlotte to regret letting Joyce stay.  Joyce can't keep her room clean, lies about why a San Francisco inspector shows up looking for her, and steals Charlotte's father's gold watch and pawns it.  Charlotte tries to recover her watch, but the pawn shop denies who pawned it and says it is sold.

Charlotte comes home to find her house has been trashed and Sweety Boy, her parakeet, is missing.  Since Charlotte fought with Joyce and kicked her out, she is a prime suspect.

She and Louis, also a suspect, talk about the facts they each know and decide on avenues they will each pursue.  When Charlotte goes sleuthing at the hospital where Joyce last stayed, she find herself in danger.  If she's not careful, she might just find herself face-to-face with a murderer.

I love this series.  Charlotte is a great character and New Orleans is a wonderful setting.  I like the fact that Charlotte is a maid.  So many times people talk in front of the maid, helping her to find answers.

This book has plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the page.  I highly recommend this book.

Dawn Dowdle

This is the seventh installment for the Charlotte LaRue mystery series.  Yahoo!  I’m glad Charlotte is back.  Joyce, the ex-wife of Charlotte’s tenant, has been released from the hospital with her alcohol addiction and has nowhere to go.  Although Charlotte knows that she shouldn’t, she lets Joyce bunk in for a short time.  Yes, Joyce still irritates Charlotte to distraction.  Joyce can be crude, vindictive and condescending so Charlotte does question why she took her in.

There are many exciting things happening with Charlotte .  She decides to cut back a little with her cleaning business, she becomes a grandmother and she has an experience with a pawn broker.   Charlotte discovers a body; unfortunately the body is in her house.

I’m reminded again how much I value Charlotte ’s niece, Judith.  She is with the New Orleans Police Department and could be a whole story by herself.  She traverses the thin line between being a professional and yet a family member of Charlotte , who always seems to be on the scene of a murder.  The returning characters in this series are some of my favorites.  I await number eight.

Rita Ratacheck

No good deed goes unpunished when housecleaner Charlotte LaRue (Scrub-a-Dub Dead, 2007, etc.) lets her tenant's ex-wife stay in her New Orleans home after Katrina has passed through. Charlotte is a grandma now, and she'd like nothing better than to spend her spare time helping her daughter-in-law Carol adjust to motherhood while her son Hank works at his medical practice. But, still uncertain whether the retired police detective who lives in the other half of her duplex is really her boyfriend, she lets Louis Thibodeaux's ex-wife use her spare room when Joyce gets discharged abruptly from drug rehab. Almost instantly, Charlotte regrets her generous impulse. Joyce is a messy guest; Charlotte's father's watch promptly goes missing; and Joyce releases Charlotte's beloved parakeet, Sweety Boy, from his cage into the cruel world. But the worst thing Joyce does is to get herself killed in the LaRue living room, placing Charlotte and Louis under a cloud of suspicion even Charlotte's police detective niece Judith can't disperse. Charlotte suspects the answer lies in the hospital where Joyce did rehab. So, disguised as herself (who looks at a maid?), she scrubs her way into the psych ward, where she discovers nasty nurses, perplexed patients and a scent of corruption that overpowers even hospital-strength disinfectant. Colley keeps her tale moving along smartly as no-nonsense Charlotte delivers a tidy treat.

Kirkus Reviews

Full of lush descriptions of the Big Easy, Colley’s seventh Charlotte LaRue whodunit (after 2007’s Scrub-a-Dub Dead) finds the New Orleans maid a murder suspect, along with her friend and tenant, Louis Thibodeaux. When Charlotte stumbles on the body of her guest and Louis’s ex-wife, Joyce, in her ransacked house, even Charlotte’s New Orleans police detective niece thinks Charlotte may be involved. Never one to take a murder rap lying down, Charlotte fights to clear her name by worming her way into the psychiatric ward where Joyce was treated for alcoholism to uncover clues about the recently released victim. Uncovering far more than she bargained for, Charlotte crosses paths with everyone from a lowlife pawn shop owner to a potentially crooked West Coast cop. Series fans will delight in this rollicking adventure.

Publishers Weekly